Kjeld Duits, Friday, December 30, 2005 Posted: 10:22 PM JST
(by Junko Edahiro) - Since long ago, fish and seafood have been the main source of protein for the Japanese, who consume almost 10 million tons of marine products annually. Japan's fisheries self-sufficiency once exceeded 100 percent, but it has declined in recent years to about 50 percent. Japan is currently the world's largest importer of marine products, accounting for about 25 percent of value and more than 10 percent of the volume of trade in these products.
Kjeld Duits, Friday, December 9, 2005 Posted: 12:11 PM JST
Last month I was a member of the panel at the annual Disaster Preparedness Night at the Tokyo American Center. Of the five panel members I was the only one who had survived an earthquake, and as it happens a big one, too --the 1995 quake that struck Kobe and environs--. I noticed there was a lot of interest in my comments, so I thought I'd recap some of them on this site.
Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, December 6, 2005 Posted: 04:09 PM JST
The Age carries an interesting article about immigration in Japan. According to the article, "foreigner numbers are now about four times what they were back in 1990."
"Japan, pragmatic as ever," says The Age, "is solving its manpower crisis by out-sourcing demography. While many businesses shift factories to China, others import labour. But no one dares to call it immigration."
And the scary part: "Because they are not encouraged to become citizens, are not promoted, are expected to go back home and do not have the right to vote, they live as second-class citizens. Their children, unable to speak fluent Japanese, become habitual truants."
Kjeld Duits, Thursday, December 1, 2005 Posted: 03:41 PM JST
On November 2, the Central Council for Financial Services Information (whose secretariat is the Bank of Japan) published the results of its 2005 Public Opinion Survey on Household Financial Assets and Liabilities. Of the households surveyed (41.1 percent of the single-person households surveyed, and 22.8 percent of those with more than one family member) 23.8 percent replied that they had no savings.
Kjeld Duits, Thursday, December 1, 2005 Posted: 01:32 PM JST
(by Nobuko Saigusa) - In the heart of Tokyo, bristling with skyscrapers, there is a forest 700,000 square meters in area located on the site of Meiji Jingu shrine. The forest is mainly composed of evergreen broadleaf trees, such as chinquapin, oak and camphor, and provides habitat to many wild birds. This forest was created about 90 years ago as a project with a 150-year vision. It was planted with the cooperation of about 110,000 volunteers, who planted some 100,000 trees of 365 different species donated by people around the nation.
Kjeld Duits, Thursday, December 1, 2005 Posted: 01:08 PM JST
On November 22 the body of a 7-year-old girl was found in a cardboard box in an empty lot in Hiroshima. It looked like just another horrifying murder of an innocent little girl. Japanese media were as usual in a feeding frenzy, making the most of this terrible tragedy. Tuesday night a man was arrested for the murder. He is non-Japanese and the media are doing their best to amplify this fact.
The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
Stone Bridge Press